PGC requesting information on nesting Peregrine Falcons

Posted on behalf of F. Arthur McMorris, Ph.D.

MARCH 6, 2013

Dear PA Birders,

Please report any sightings you may have of Peregrine Falcons near cliffs in Pennsylvania. Cliff-nesting peregrines are extremely important to the recovery of the species in Pennsylvania, but only 4 active cliff nests are currently known; all other PA nests are on man-made structures (bridges, buildings and smokestacks). It is quite likely, however, that there are cliff-nesting pairs in PA that just haven’t been discovered yet. If you do see peregrines at or near cliffs in PA, please report them to me.

Right now is an excellent time to detect nesting peregrines, and to observe and enjoy them. This is the beginning of the nesting season: established pairs are renewing the pair bond, single birds are advertizing for mates, and all are demonstrating their “ownership” of their territories, by dramatic display flights and aggressive challenges to practically anything big that flies (Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, sometimes even small airplanes!). Later in the nesting season they become more secretive, and then later still, when the young are beginning to learn to fly, they become conspcuous again. Now is a great time to enjoy them and a golden opportunity to detect new pairs.

Peregrine Banding 06-03_3Peregrines were extirpated in eastern North America by DDT and other pesticies in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but they have been re-introduced and the population in PA is recovering steadily. Thirty-two nesting pairs were documented in 2011 and 2012, but still only 4 cliff-nesting pairs are known. Your reports will be very valuable in aiding the recovery of this charismatic species.

Many thanks,

Art

F. Arthur McMorris, Ph.D.
Peregrine Falcon coordinator
Pennsylvania Game Commission
405 Bryn Mawr Ave.
Bala-Cynwyd, PA 19004
610-664-2174
mcmorris@mac.com

Calling all bird lovers

Osprey and chick at the PPL Lake Wallenpaupack Preserve.

Osprey and chick at the PPL Lake Wallenpaupack Preserve.

Did you know that PPL’s environmental preserves have been directly involved in efforts to raise awareness of birds and their habitat, and to restore peregrine falcons, bald eagles, ospreys and other bird species to Pennsylvania? Through a “Bird Town” alliance with the Audubon Society, PPL works to raise awareness of birds and their habitats through education, awareness and training activities.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Here is a chance for all bird lovers to become engaged.  The National Audubon Society is seeking participants for The Great Backyard Bird Count,   an annual four-day event from Feb. 15-18 that engages bird watchers in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.

Anyone interested in volunteering to take part in this event can grab their binoculars and sign up here: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/howto.html.  Volunteers provide important information on the status and trends of our bird populations.

To learn more about PPL’s commitment to birds of prey throughout Pennsylvania, we invite you to read and follow our blog.